Written by Jessica Kane
The manner in which the website of a nonprofit organization is built and designed makes all the difference between the destination being an effective fundraising resource — or not. There are some significant website-related missteps that can hamper donations to even the most desirable nonprofit organization.
Failure to Tell a Compelling Story About Your Organization
Perhaps the most commonplace, and certainly significant, misstep made by a nonprofit at its website that hurts donations is the failure to tell a compelling story. In other words, despite placing words and images on the pages of a website, a nonprofit organization fails to convey a story that motivates a visitor to support an organization.
There are a number of fundamental tactics to employ to avoid this fatal misstep. First, you need to ensure that you select written content and images (photos and videos) for your website that appropriately coalesce around your nonprofit’s brand. Yes, brand.
As is the case with a business enterprise, a nonprofit has a brand. That brand represents the mission of the organization, enhanced via the written content and images place throughout the website.
Second, you must be thoughtful when it comes to the volume of written content and images included at a website as part of telling the story of your organization. You really must follow the Goldilocks and the three bears tale in this regard and come up with written content and images that is “just right.” You need enough information to convey the story of your organization in a comprehensible and compelling manner. However, you need to be concise, that a visitor to a site will not spend a significant amount of time stewing over the materials placed on your pages.
Lack of Prompt Visitor Follow Up Via Your Website
Another misstep at a nonprofit site that negatively impacts donations is the lack of prompt follow up to a communication from a visitor to the site. This can occur for one of two reasons. First, the website might have a systemic deficiency that causes a lag in a response to a visitor with a question about the organization. Second, the delay could also be the result of a lack of attention by a human being to a communication from a visitor. Oftentimes, both issues are at play.
The stark reality is that a visitor to your site may be geared up to support your organization financially, but has a simple question. The failure to provide a prompt communication to that individual will result in the potential donor never becoming an actual supporter.
Failure to Maintain a User-friendly Interface
One of the biggest problems any website can face is challenging navigation and a user interface that is unfriendly. If a visitor to a website is unable to effectively understand its navigation within a minute of arriving at the homepage, that individual is apt to leave the site and never come back. Of course, that means the visitor did not take the time to financially support the work of the nonprofit that maintains the website.
In order to ensure that a website becomes and remains a relevant tool for raising money, the destination must be user friendly and easily navigable. A visitor must have a ready opportunity to learn about the organization and make a donation without wasting unnecessary time finding information and where to donate.
Low Visitor Traffic
Businesses oftentimes invest a good deal of time developing meaningful search engine optimization, or SEO, strategies to draw traffic to their websites. A fairly widespread failing of many nonprofits is the failure to develop a suitable SEO strategy to draw consistent traffic to their websites.
The net effect of a failure to embark on a suitable SEO campaign is simple. The lack of a good SEO program results in less traffic and hurts donations to the organization.
Complicated Donation Process and Portal
Another structural issue at a nonprofit website that can impair donations is a complicated donation process and associated portal. For example, a nonprofit does need to collect certain information from a donor. However, at the website donation portal, the information collected can be kept to something of a minimum. This can include the essentials: name, street address, email address, and phone number. Following the donation, an automated email can be sent to the donor to be answered at that individual’s leisure, if supplemental information is needed.
It is also highly important that a visitor to the site have absolute confidence in the security of the donation portal. One way of accomplishing this is but utilizing a payment platform that is both recognized and trusted by a good segment of the population and that processes donations to nonprofits.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.